Missions Foundation gives Cowgirl Award
By Toby Druin
A new Texas Baptist missions award is a horse of a different color.
The first Texas Cowgirl Award was presented Sept. 16 to Eunice Chambless of Abilene for her support of the Cowboy Church movement.
The award will be presented annually by the Baptist General of Convention's Church Multiplication Center and the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation.
|Gary Morgan (left), pastor of Cowboy Church of Ellis County, and Ron Nolen (right) of the BGCT present the Cowgirl Award to Eunice Chambless.|
Ron Nolen, who heads the BGCT's effort to start cowboy churches, presented the award to Chambless, noting she helped him purchase a horse to use in his ministry.
The award, an acrylic representation of the map of Texas with the Cowboy Church logo, carries an inscription that reads: “Your life influence and possessions have inspired an entire cowboy church planting movement in Texas and beyond.” It was presented by Nolen and Gary Morgan, pastor of the Cowboy Church of Ellis County, who also gave her a western hat.
The award presentation was the highlight of a meeting of the missions foundation's board of advisers at Frontier Church, one of the newest of the cowboy churches, on Highway 77, just south of Waxahachie, and whose new building was financed with a no-interest loan from the foundation. Most of the meeting focused on the cowboy church movement.
Nolen challenged the 20-member foundation board and others attending the meeting to be aware of where cowboy churches are needed. Seventeen have been started to date, he said, and the goal is 10 to 20 per year over the next five years.
BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade spoke briefly to the board, noting Frontier Church where they were meeting “is a good symbol of our commitment to start churches wherever there are people who need them.”
Abe Zabaneh, director of the Church Starting Center, explained that Texas needs new churches because they are foundations for reaching the 10.5 million non-Christian people in the state. New churches also are forums for innovation, provide opportunities for new church leaders, focus on the future and are foundations for growth, he said.
Bill Arnold, executive director of the missions foundation, reported 628 people made 1,228 gifts to the foundation this year totaling $1.8 million. The foundation has $300,000 pending in loans for 10 churches from its no-interest loan fund and $492,000 pending for nine churches from its low-interest loan fund.
The foundation, he reported, has helped with funds for a new tool trailer for Texas Baptist Men, assisted in providing medical and dental care for orphanages in Piedras Negras, aided in construction of new Baptist Student Ministry buildings at Texas A&M University and Stephen F. Austin State University and in distributing 25,000 Spanish-language Bibles from Del Rio to Juarez.
The board approved three awards to be presented at the foundation's meeting Nov. 10 in Lubbock. The Pioneer Award for service in missions will be presented to Delbert and Mary Lou Serratt of Amarillo. The Innovator Award for creativity in missions will go to Shirley Madden of Lubbock. The Adventurer Award for leadership in missions will be presented to First Baptist Church of Plains, where Bill Wright is pastor.
Four people were re-elected to new terms on the board of advisers–Eunice Chambless, Ken Dupuy of Longview, Ed Finlay of Houston and Dan McLendon of San Antonio.